Story by News 3 photographer Chip Brierre
NORFOLK, Va. (WTKR) - At Bud Metheny Stadium, Old Dominion Sophomore Vincent Bashara notices from the field the two chairs in the stands behind home plate. Both stick out from the rest of the steel bleachers and in the mind of the right-handed reliever.
“My first memory was coming here with my brother,” says Vincent as he nods in towards the seats. “We sat right up there.”
Growing up just down the street, it was an easy sell for the impressionable young pitcher as a regular of “many years,” as he puts it. Yet, the magnetic draw leading Vincent to becoming a Monarch is ingrained in his DNA.
His grandfather, Charles Bashara, took the field for the first time at third base under legendary head coach Bud Metheny back in 1951; on the very same field Vincent spent his childhood enamored with. Charles’ son Brian recalls some of those stories from back then, including one with a gross handshake.
“Bud Metheny told him to bunt, and dad hit a triple,” laughs Mr. Bashara, sitting in his father’s office on Bute St. “So when he came over to third base, Metheny was there. Back then they had chewing tobacco, so he went to shake his hand and it was full of chewing tobacco.”
Six decades later, Vincent’s older brother, Brian Joseph Bashara, nicknamed “Baby Bash” by his teammates, played second base for current ODU head coach Chris Finwood, graduating in 2014. Vincent’s older sister, Cristina, played for the women’s soccer program, graduating in 2018.
“It is pretty neat that all three of us and then my grandfather played sports at Old Dominion,” says Brian. “Definitely a fun family lineage to have and hopefully one day maybe my son, Sonny, will be the next monarch.”
For now, Vincent represents the third generation of Basharas to play Monarch Baseball. It comes as no surprise to anyone in their family that the connection is as strong as it is. Charles founded the Bashara & Hubbard Law Firm in Freemason Abbey, practicing law in Downtown Norfolk for over 50 years before his passing in 2012.
“We just fit,” says Mr. Bashara, “not like peanut butter and jelly, but more like a rusty screw that they slid in somewhere!”
Currently, Vincent leads the Old Dominion pitching staff in appearances this season at 16 and is studying to major in cybersecurity. Even when he thought for a split second he might pursue a different college baseball program, the Maury High School graduate knew deep down he wanted to stay close to home.
“This was my dream college. It's weird to say that,” Vincent states. “A lot of people look at me funny, but ODU is my dream college, and I'm here playing baseball. This is where I wanted to be.”
“You always want to play right down the street, and to do that in front of your friends and family, it’s a treat,” says older brother Brian. “I say the same thing to Vincent all the time when I'm talking to him. There is a lot of pressure on you to go out there and compete every day, as well as get your schoolwork done. You want to do better than the one who came before, and Vinny is definitely doing that.”
And every time he is called from the bullpen, Vincent displays similarities to his grandfather that made him a great ball player and a staple in the Norfolk community, according to Vincent’s father.
“Probably just integrity,” acknowledges Mr. Bashara. “The kids have done that with pride. Good pride, not ugly pride. They’ve done it through their integrity of playing.”
“Having that ODU on my chest, being on that mound, I definitely have a constant reminder,” says Vincent. “Once I get on that mound, I turn around and look at the outfield. My brother definitely played right there at second base. This is where I wanted to be.”